Tag Archives: Asia
It begins with a sickening snap. The Mud Men of Pogla emerge to no music, moving like mechanical marionettes: juddering, shuddering, dancing. Their huge heads, like their skin, have been painted deathly white. Theirs is a dreadful spectacle. Snap! While some hold spears, others have wicked-looking bamboo talons which they..
They say the fat, arthritic olive trees in northern Jordan’s Irbit region were planted by the Romans. That would likely make them older than local lad J. Christ, a theory which hasn’t been scientifically tested, but one that’s quite believable in this biblical land of dusty hills, itinerant goats, and..
They say you can see the Great Wall of China from space, but that is not true. You can, however, see something else the Chinese have made: the pollution that hangs over their mega-cities – Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, etc – appears as grey smudges on the green and blue marble of..
Aravind Bremanandam was under a Lada, sheltering from a sandstorm, when he had an idea. Stuck in the Sahara during the Budapest to Bamako Rally he decided that such misery, or adventure, might transplant well to his native India. “People want stupid?” he said to himself. “I’ll show them stupid…”..
“We are outlaws now.” These are words that precisely no-one wants to hear, not in China, not with its hard labour sentences and fondness for the death penalty. Of all the Asian nations not to be an outlaw in, China is just about top of my list. Yet, according to..
I have always loved Indian-English and the way it clings to formality, dredging up archaic verbs and half-forgotten idioms. Indians don’t argue, they quarrel; they don’t think someone is nuts, but that they ‘have bats in their belfry’. It is a dialect that bathes in hyperbole, whether that’s a best..
As it has grown apart from ye olde English, the American version of the language has lost much. Surely one of its most tragic casualties is that gentle waltz of a word, autumnal. Autumn, autumnal, autumnally… they are, to me, some of our most elegant words, evoking a far deeper..
Rudyard Kipling’s road to Mandalay, the mighty route memorialised in poem and song, that ancient byway conjuring images of Empire and the Orient, is not, in fact, a road. Instead it is a river, the humongous Irrawaddy (or Ayeyarwady) which leads from Himalayan glaciers, deep in the heart of northern..
The BMW that picks me up from Mumbai Airport to take me to the JW Marriott is an absurdly, unnecessarily luxurious machine. Little bottles of water gently perspire in its perfect air-conditioning; it has televisions in the backs of the seats, and a power-assisted boot, negating the need for manual..
Granddad was a deep-sea diver – that’s the first thing I knew about him. Come to think of it, that’s one of the first things I knew about anything. That, and being in the water. I don’t remember the trauma of swimming for the first time because I’ve been doing..